Letter to the Editor: Why I Will Vote In Favor Of Charter Question #2

Los Alamos

The central argument in favor of Charter Question #2 is that currently the County has responsibility and liability for actions of the Utilities Board, but essentially no authority over the Board beyond the original appointment of Board members.

The proposed amendment aims to preserve the independence of the Board to the maximum extent possible while still providing the Council the legal authority needed to exercise its responsibility. Included in the amendment are procedures designed to ensure a high degree of public involvement and scrutiny for Council actions on resolution of disputes between the Council and the Board or for removal of a Board member.

The arguments against Charter Question #2 seem entirely based on the belief that the Utilities Board, as a completely independent body, will be motivated only by the desire to provide excellent service at the lowest rates possible, but that if the Council is given any authority over the board it will somehow force the board to raise rates to provide additional funds to the county for non-utility purposes  This boils down to the argument that appointed Board members can be trusted, but our elected representatives cannot.

I believe the Council needs the legal authority to fulfil its responsibilities. I further have confidence in our elected representatives to use this authority appropriately, particularly given the high public involvement any Council action in this area will generate.

I will therefore vote in favor of Charter Question #2.